Best Online Bachelor’s in Criminology Programs of 2020

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Published on January 7, 2021

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Criminology explores the intersection between society and the law. Criminology programs examine various laws and institutions in the criminal justice system, along with social and psychological topics like the causes and effects of crime. Graduates with a bachelor's in criminology can pursue many careers, including positions in protective services and community and social services.

With job growth rates stronger than the average occupation, protective and social services careers also offer high salaries. Bachelor's Bachelor'ss can help graduates qualify for more advanced positions within these organizations.

This guide looks at criminology programs in more detail, providing information about courses and careers.

What Are the Best Online Bachelor's in Criminology Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:

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#1 University of Florida Online Gainesville, FL
#2 University of South Florida Tampa, FL
#3 University of Wisconsin Whitewater Whitewater, WI
#4 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
#5 LeTourneau University Longview, TX
#6 Missouri State University Springfield, MO
#7 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Saint Mary of the Woods, IN
#8 University of North Carolina at Wilmington Wilmington, NC
#9 Regis University Denver, CO
#10 Arizona State University Scottsdale, AZ

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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2020 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Criminology Programs

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University of Florida Online View School Profile Gainesville, FL

UF Online offers a bachelor of arts in criminology that provides students with the theories and methods for studying the intersections of crime, law, and society. Graduates with online criminology degrees can pursue jobs as criminal investigators, probation officers, and substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors.

UF Online's criminology degree requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Major requirements include courses in advanced principles of criminal justice, law and the legal process, and law and society.

Each candidate must possess a high school diploma (or equivalent), a cumulative "C" average, competitive SAT or ACT scores, and a record of good conduct. A transfer applicant must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA and have completed prerequisite courses, such as intro to statistics. UF Online is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of South Florida View School Profile Tampa, FL

USF offers a bachelor of science in applied science with a concentration in criminal justice for those who possess an associate of science from a Florida public institution and want to pursue a bachelor's degree. The criminal justice concentration prepares students for graduate school or professional training related to law enforcement, detention, and corrections.

This applied science degree with a concentration in criminal justice requires 60 credit hours beyond the associate degree. Core concentration courses include theories of criminal behavior and survey of the criminal justice system.

Each applicant must have completed an AS degree from a Florida state or community college with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Enrollees can transfer up to 60 credits from the AS degree into the bachelor of applied science program. USF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Wisconsin Whitewater View School Profile Whitewater, WI

UWW offers a law enforcement bachelor's degree-completion program that provides a path to a bachelor's in criminology for law enforcement officers who have been working for at least three years and already hold an associate degree. The program combines credit for prior learning, independent learning, online learning, and traditional face-to-face courses.

Degree-seekers can complete the UWW criminology program in three years. Required major coursework includes introduction to criminology, criminal investigation, criminological theory, and forensic documentation.

Each applicant should complete an initial expression of interest form on the program website. UWW is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Florida State University View School Profile Tallahassee, FL

FSU offers an online bachelor's degree in criminology and criminal justice that prepares individuals for careers as child welfare caseworkers, victim advocates, private investigators, parole officers, or social services case managers. The program can also lead to further graduate studies or law school.

This online criminology degree requires the completion of all general education credits and 36 credits in major-specific coursework. Major core courses include introduction to criminal justice, white-collar crime, the sociology of black males, and crimes against humanity.

To graduate, each student must hold an associate of arts degree from a Florida institution or complete FSU's liberal studies requirements, earn 36 credits of criminology courses with a "C" or higher in three core courses, and maintain an overall 2.0 GPA. FSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

LeTourneau University View School Profile Longview, TX

LETU offers a bachelor of science in criminal justice that provides students with an understanding of criminal behavior and positive methods for conflict resolution, including restorative justice and alternative behavior modification incentives. Enrollees can pursue online and on-campus formats.

This criminal justice degree requires 120 credits, including 36 credits of major coursework. Students can choose from three concentrations: criminal justice management, human trafficking, and homeland security. Required major courses include criminal law, justice and human rights, and police and the community. University requirements include theology and vocation courses.

Each applicant must hold a high school diploma (or equivalent), a minimum 2.5 GPA, and a minimum SAT score of 1030. LETU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Missouri State University View School Profile Springfield, MO

MSU offers a bachelor of science and bachelor of arts in criminology. The bachelor of science awards a degree more specialized in criminology, while the bachelor of arts includes liberal arts requirements like foreign languages, fine arts, and humanities with its criminology courses.

Students must declare their major before completing 60 credits at MSU. The criminology program requires 45 credits in major requirements in addition to general education requirements. Major core courses include juvenile justice, criminal procedure, and criminal law and the courts.

MSU admits students on a sliding scale, based on their class rank and GPA, which determines what minimum test scores they need to have on the SAT or ACT. The higher a candidate's class rank and GPA, the lower the test score threshold. MSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College View School Profile Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

SMWC offers a bachelor of science in criminology that prepares individuals for careers in law enforcement or the criminal justice system. The program provides a social science understanding of crime and criminal behavior, along with a solid foundation in liberal arts. Students can complete the program on campus or online.

The bachelor of science program requires 36 credits of major coursework in criminology, in addition to general education requirements. Major core courses include juvenile justice, corrections, and criminal interviewing and investigation. Students can choose from concentrations in psychology or sociology.

Each applicant must possess a high school diploma (or equivalent) and submit their transcripts. Test scores, such as the SAT or ACT, are not required for admission but are encouraged. SMWC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of North Carolina at Wilmington View School Profile Wilmington, NC

UNCW offers an online bachelor of arts in criminology with concentrations in criminal justice, criminology, and public criminology. Enrollees can complete the first two concentrations entirely online, while the public criminology concentration may require some in-person classes.

The bachelor of arts in criminology program requires 39 credits of major coursework, in addition to all general education and university requirements. Core courses include criminology, methods of social research, and sociological data analysis and interpretation. Students must also complete seminars in their chosen area of concentration.

Each applicant must possess a high school diploma (or equivalent) and a minimum 2.5 GPA. Transfer students must have 24 credits of transferable college-level coursework. UNCW is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Regis University View School Profile Denver, CO

Regis offers a bachelor of science in criminology that examines crime as a social phenomenon and emphasizes a sociological approach to analyzing the social, political, and environmental factors that influence crime. Regis also offers a combined bachelor's to master's program in criminology for those who plan to pursue further graduate studies and wish to save time.

The bachelor of science in criminology requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Major coursework includes introduction to forensic science, crime analysis, psychology of crime, and family violence. Program electives offer courses on topics of youth violence and delinquency, homeland security, and animal exploitation.

Each applicant must possess a high school diploma (or equivalent) and submit all previous transcripts. Regis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Arizona State University View School Profile Scottsdale, AZ

Based in Tempe, Arizona State University is one of the largest schools in the U.S., currently enrolling nearly 75,000 students. This leading research university offers more than 300 online degrees, including a bachelor of science in criminology and criminal justice.

Students in this BS program explore the causes and consequences of crime, as well as the roles of agencies responsible for managing crime. The 120-credit curriculum covers topics such as introduction to policing, courts and sentencing, and statistical analysis.

Graduates can pursue a variety of career paths, including positions as correctional officers, forensic specialists, and fraud investigators. To apply, prospective students must hold a minimum 3.0 high school GPA, rank in the top 25% of their graduating class, or meet minimum SAT or ACT score requirements.

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Criminology Program?

Most bachelor's programs in criminology require 120 credits and take four years to complete. Students typically possess decision-making, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Most bachelor's programs in criminology require 120 credits and take four years to complete. Students typically possess decision-making, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Programs feature unique curriculum and concentration options that can lead to different careers. Law concentrations, for example, can lead to careers within the legal system, while psychology concentrations focus on analyzing the people and situations within the system. Some concentrations, such as homeland security, can lead to careers with specific organizations.

Some criminology programs feature elements that help students meet licensure or additional training requirements. For instance, students may need to complete a set number of field experience hours to qualify for law enforcement training programs and security certifications.

While bachelor of science programs typically provide more specialized education in the sciences, bachelor of arts programs offer a well-rounded education. Students hoping to work in roles like probation officer or forensic science technician may choose to pursue a BS, while aspiring police officers and detectives often find greater value in a BA. However, employers accept both degrees, and major-specific coursework generally does not vary between these options.

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Criminology Program?

While all programs are unique, the following list describes core courses that often appear in online bachelor's in criminology programs.

Cybercrime

This course examines the historical development of cybercrime, as well as legal and systemic responses. Students look at different types of attacks and methods for detection, prevention, and legal action. Additional topics include cyberforensics and court processes for cybercriminals.

Global Terrorism

This course explores terrorism around the world, including its definition, causes, and responses. Learners compare domestic and international terrorism and study how homeland security aims to prevent and thwart attacks.

Mental Health and Justice

In this course, students examine the intersection of mental health and the legal system. Learners discuss how mental health issues can lead to criminal activity, as well as how the legal system defines mental health and treats those with mental health concerns. Learners also study community mental health programs and how they complement the legal system.

Psychology of Crime

This course explores criminal behavior and possible psychological causes of criminal activity. Students look at how the legal system and law enforcement organizations use psychology to examine criminals and criminal activity.

Social Inequality

This course delves into the ways in which social inequality impacts criminal behavior and treatment of perpetrators and victims within the justice system. Learners study race, gender, and sexual orientation, as well as how members of various groups receive different treatment from law enforcement officials and in legal proceedings.

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What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Criminology?

Graduates with an online bachelor's in criminology qualify for various careers. Police officer and detective jobs are some of the most popular and lucrative positions in the field. While a bachelor's degree can help graduates meet educational requirements for criminology jobs, some careers require additional training.

More specialized positions like forensic science technician and emergency management director may require a concentration and/or specific coursework. Careers like correctional officer and private investigator do not require a degree, but candidates with a bachelor's often have a competitive advantage.

Find out what you can do with an online bachelor's in criminology. Learn more about criminal justice and criminology careers on our career pages.

Police Officer

Police officers protect people and property from crime and criminals. They conduct investigations, prepare cases, and patrol areas under their jurisdiction. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most of these professionals work for local governments as patrol officers

Probation Officer

Probation officers provide social services as part of the rehabilitation process for criminals and law offenders. They evaluate people under their care and determine what type of services and support will be most useful and effective.

Correctional Officer

Correctional officers work in jails and prisons. They take charge of the safety of the people and property within the institutions, enforce rules, and prevent disturbances.

Forensic Science Technician

Forensic science technicians collect and analyze evidence as part of criminal investigations. They record observations of crime scenes, examine microscopic or chemical evidence, and provide information to investigators. According to the BLS, most of these professionals work for local governments, state governments, and laboratories.

Private Detectives and Investigators

Private investigators work for individuals and organizations researching financial and personal activities, conducting surveillance, and collecting evidence of crimes and transgressions. Investigators must follow the law in the jurisdictions where they conduct their work. They may need licensure.

Criminology not for you? Check out these related careers.

Criminal Justice Careers Law Careers Homeland Security Careers

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Criminology Programs

Is a bachelor’s degree in criminology worth it?

Yes. A bachelor's in criminology can lead to many careers. The BLS projects 3% growth for jobs in protective services between 2019 and 2029. The median annual salaries for these positions exceed the average for all occupations.

What can I do with a bachelor’s in criminology? 

With a bachelor's in criminology, graduates can pursue careers in protective or community services. Depending on their training, credentials, and experience, graduates can pursue more advanced careers within these sectors, such as positions within the Federal Bureau of Investigations. 

How many criminology majors get jobs? 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the unemployment rate for criminal justice professionals was 3.8% in 2018, higher than the national average of 2.9%.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in criminology? 

According to the BLS, the median annual salary in protective services is $41,580. Exact salaries vary by career. Probation officers earn a median annual salary of $54,290. Forensic science technicians make over $59,150 per year, while police and detectives earn $65,170 per year.

What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in criminology? 

Positions like emergency management director feature a median annual salary of $74,590. However, experienced police and detectives make some of the highest salaries in the field. According to the BLS, the top 10% of professionals in this field earn over $109,000 per year.

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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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